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Kansas Historical Quarterly - The Report of the Wyandot Exploring Delegation

1831

edited by J. Orin Oliphant

August 1947 (Vol. 14 No. 3), pages 248 to 262.
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.

I. INTRODUCTION

EARLY in the autumn of 1831, James B. Gardiner, as special agent of the United States government, was endeavoring to persuade the Wyandot Indians to exchange the lands they then held in Ohio for lands in the country lying west of the state of Missouri. During the course of the negotiation, both parties agreed that a delegation should be sent to examine the Western lands that had been offered to the Wyandots. For that purpose six persons were appointed. The leader of this delegation was William Walker, a member of the Wyandot nation and a man of considerable education.

In October, 1831, Gardiner accompanied the Wyandot delegation from Upper Sandusky, Ohio, to Cincinnati, from which city Walker and his five companions set out by boat, near the end of October, on the journey to their Western destination. Gardiner presumed that the delegation, with good luck, might complete its mission and arrive home by Christmas. Meanwhile, as he informed the Office of Indian Affairs, he purposed to employ a part of his time in adjusting "the details of a final treaty with the Wyandot chiefs." [1]

As late as January 4, 1832, Gardiner was confident that he could soon conclude a satisfactory treaty with the Wyandots, for he had just heard, on what he believed to be excellent authority, that the exploring party was on the way home and that the members of this party were "highly pleased with the country assigned them." "I flatter myself," he wrote to Lewis Cass, Secretary of War, "that I shall be able, in four or five weeks, to present you with a definitive treaty with this sagacious, intelligent and crafty tribe of Indians, which will be of the highest importance to a large section of this state, and greatly in aid of the benevolent policy of the Government." [2]

Before the next day was ended, however, Gardiner's hope of

(248)

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achieving a triumph was vanishing, for in the afternoon of January 5 Col. Thomas B. Vanhorne had informed him that Walker had declared in Dayton, Ohio, as the exploring party was passing through that town on the way home, that the report of the delegation would be unfavorable to the proposed exchange of lands. Believing that it was not improbable that, on hearing such a report, "the whites, half-breeds, and the `Christian party,' so called," would be against treating on "any reasonable terms," and believing also that the "pagan" or "savage party" would listen to "reason," Gardiner asked permission of Lewis Cass to make a treaty with this latter group for the cession of their part of the Wyandot reservation. "They have Chiefs and Headmen among them," he added, "whom they recognize and obey." [3]

The news that Gardiner had received from Colonel Vanhorne turned out to be correct, for the report of the exploring delegation was emphatically unfavorable to the proposed exchange of lands. This report, presumably written by Walker, is reproduced below.

Gardiner was much disturbed at the turn affairs had taken. In a long letter to Lewis Cass, dated at Lebanon, Ohio, on January 28, 1832, he reviewed his negotiations with the Wyandots and complained bitterly of what he believed to be the duplicity of William Walker and of one of Walker's companions named Silas Armstrong. Because of its important bearing upon the report of the delegation, this letter is also reproduced below.

As to the truthfulness of Gardiner's charges, the present-day student of this subject, having nothing on which to base a judgment except the evidence prepared by Gardiner for Cass, is at a loss what to conclude. From Henry C. Brish, William Brish, and George W. Gist, men who had just returned to Ohio from conducting the Seneca Indians from that state to the Indian country west of the Mississippi river, Gardiner collected depositions which he submitted to Cass as proof of his contention that the Wyandot delegation had made a dishonest report. [4] All these men affirmed under oath that they had talked with Walker in St. Louis after the return of the Wyandot delegation to that city from its exploring tour, and that they had gained from him the impression that the members of this delegation were so well pleased with the new tract that had been offered to the Wyandots that they would recommend an exchange of lands. They also gave testimony that tended to arouse suspi-

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cion as to the correctness of some of the statements in the report of the delegation. Furthermore, Gardiner submitted the answers of Silas Armstrong to questions that Gardiner had asked him as additional proof that the delegation had not adequately examined the tract of land offered to the Wyandots by the United States government. [5] Upon the testimony thus obtained Gardiner based several of the conclusions he set forth in his letter to Lewis Cass of January 28, 1832. From a careful reading of the above-mentioned documents one might conclude that the delegation had not fully complied with its instructions relative to the exploration it had been sent to make. One might conclude also that some of the statements in the report of the delegation were open to question. [6] And, finally, one might well believe that the members of the delegation at the last moment had changed their minds as to the recommendation they would make to the Wyandot chiefs.

But if all these points be granted, it does not follow necessarily that the report of the delegation was "made," as Gardiner intimated it had been, in advance of the exploration, and that therefore the delegation had gone on a needless journey at the expense of the United States. The evidence that Gardiner offered in support of this charge was a deposition of George Williams, a member of the Wyandot nation. [7] Williams, who had been nominated by Gardiner to be one of the exploring party and who had not been accepted, affirmed that John Baptiste, a member of the delegation, had told him that all the members of the delegation had been chosen by the Wyandot chiefs because they were known to be opposed in principle to the removal of the Wyandots from Ohio, and that Williams had not been selected because he was known to favor such removal provided that the Western tract offered to the Wyandots proved to be an acceptable one. But the unsupported testimony of Williams, who doubtless was disgruntled, does not definitely prove anything. It raises a suspicion, but a suspicion only, that Gardiner as well as the Wyandot chiefs had attempted to "pack" the delegation.

As to Gardiner's strictures on the conduct of Walker and of Armstrong, we can only say that they may or may not have been justified.

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Lacking sufficient evidence, therefore, to warrant our making a judgment in the case of Gardiner against Walker and others, we must content ourselves with examining Gardiner's charges in the light of his obvious chagrin. During 1831 he had completed four treaties of exchange with other bands of Indians residing in Ohio, [8] and naturally he was eager to impress the Jackson administration by a record of complete success. If he had been outgeneraled by the Wyandots in a war of wits, as he may well have been, his wrath is understandable. Even his success in negotiating a treaty with the band of Wyandots residing at the Big Spring was but slight compensation to him for the failure of his negotiation with the main body of Wyandots, for the former, though consenting to give up their lands in Ohio, refused to accept lands west of the Mississippi river. The treaty that Gardiner concluded with them on January 19, 1832, was, therefore, a treaty of purchase rather than a treaty of exchange. [9]

As a commentary on his version of his dealings with the Wyandots, it may be observed that Gardiner's methods in concluding four of the five treaties he made with the Indians in Ohio were seriously questioned in the senate. [10] Nevertheless, these four treaties were approved by the senate and were proclaimed on April 6, 1832. [11] That Gardiner had not lost favor with the administration is proved by the fact that he was appointed to superintend the removals for which these treaties provided. [12]

The tract of land that William Walker and his companions were sent to examine in 1831, though then lying beyond the western boundary of Missouri, is now within the limits of that state. By an act of congress of June 7, 1836, the provisions of which were agreed to by the legislature of Missouri on December 16, 1836, an area containing this tract-the so-called "Platte Purchase"-was joined to the state of Missouri. By the addition of this area, an odd-shaped tract which on a map looks like the state of Idaho turned upside down, the Missouri river became the western boundary of the state of Missouri from the mouth of the Kansas river northwestward to the point where the Missouri river intersects "the parallel of latitude which passes through the rapids of the river

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Des Moines." [13] The act of congress providing for this change became effective by presidential proclamation on March 28, 1837. [14] The band of Wyandots living at or near Upper Sandusky continued to reside on their reservation in Ohio until 1843. On March 17, 1842, they ceded to the United States all their lands in Ohio, receiving therefor a promise of a tract of 148,000 acres west of the Mississippi. [15] Because the United States did not fulfill its part of this agreement, the Wyandots, on their arrival west of the Mississippi, made an agreement with the Delaware nation, on December 14, 1843, whereby they acquired from the latter Indians a tract of land lying between the Missouri and the Kansas rivers, within the present state of Kansas. In all they thus acquired thirty-nine sections, of which three sections were a gift. For the remaining thirty-six sections they agreed to pay the Delawares the sum of $46,080. [16] The congress approved this agreement on July 25, 1848, [17] and by a treaty with the Wyandots on April 1, 1850, the United States agreed to pay the Wyandots $185,000, which sum was compensation at the rate of $1.25 an acre for the 148,000 acres promised them by the treaty of 1842. [18]

William Walker migrated with the Wyandots to Kansas in 1843 and settled on the banks of Jersey creek, within the limits of the present Kansas City, Kan. According to William E. Connelley, he was "the principal man of the Wyandot nation. [19] In 1853 he was elected provisional governor of Nebraska territory, a vast region which then embraced the present states of Kansas and Nebraska and parts of the present states of Colorado and Wyoming.19 He died in Kansas City, Mo., on February 13, 1874. [20]

As a result of his exploring expedition in 1831, William Walker won for himself a place of minor importance in the history of the Pacific Northwest. While he was passing through St. Louis, Walker

WYANDOT EXPLORING DELEGATION 2253

called upon Gen. William Clark, and in Clark's house he saw three Indians who had come to St. Louis from the Far Northwest in quest, as Walker was led to believe, *of knowledge of the white men's religion. [21] On January 19, 1833, Walker, in a letter to Gabriel P. Disosway, of New York, related the story of these Indians. Subsequently Disosway incorporated Walker's letter in a communication of his own to the editor of the Christian Advocate and Journal and Zion's Herald, a Methodist newspaper published in New York City. The Walker-Disosway letter [22] was published in the issue of that newspaper for March l, 1833, and it aroused so great an interest in the Protestant churches in the United States that the Methodist Missionary Society sent a mission to the Oregon Indians in 1834 and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions sent another mission to those Indians in 1836.

Because of an ambiguous statement in Disosway's communication (not in Walker's), it was long assumed that Walker had made his exploring tour in the West in 1832 rather than in 1831. But the report of the exploring delegation, dated at St. Louis on December 15, 1831, together with the documents mentioned above, establishes beyond question the fact that the Wyandot delegation headed by Walker made its tour of exploration in 1831.

II. "REPORT OF THE WYANDOTT EXPLORING DELEGATION" [23]

(Copy)

Saint Louis Dec 15 1831

To the Chiefs of the
Wyandott Nation.

Your delegation appointed to examine the country west of the Mississippi river, proposed to be given to the Wyandotts of Ohio, beg leave to
Report:-That they have, pursuant to instructions, made the examination as directed. After a long & tedious journey, we arrived at the last town near the western limits of the State of Missouri. Some of our company, viz Wm. Walker & C. B. Garrett, being sick, four of your delegates proceeded on, crossed the State line and commenced the examination of the country near the western line of the State & the River Platte.

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Within two or three days the exploring party was rejoined by one of our sick men, viz, Wm. Walker; the other C. B. Garrett, continuing sick. The examination was made by five of your delegates.

We must be permitted here to say, that your delegates entered upon the examination with minds unbiased, unprejudiced, feeling the responsibility that rested upon them, and fully prepared to do ample justice to the reputation of the country.

The Country we examined, it is universally admitted by all who are acquainted with the whole tract of country purchased by the General Government for the purpose of settling the emigrating Indians of the United States, to be decidedly the best for the settlement of Indians from the Northern part of the United States.

The lands between the Western line of the State of Missouri & the River Platte, (See map accompanying) are generally prairie, high, dry, in some places rolling and in many places cup [sic] up with deep ravines, but generally of a rich black soil. In these prairies the small runs and ravines are so deep and the banks perpendicular that it frequently happens that a traveller has to trace them to near their head before they can be crossed. In all this tract, (the average width of which is about 8 miles and in length 30 miles,) there is but little timber and what there is, is of a low scrubby, knotty and twisted kind and fit for nothing but firewood. It has been said that within this scope of country, sugar-trees abound; this is a mistake. We generally suppose when we hear of a country abounding with Sugar-trees, that there is enough to afford good Sugar camps; for there is little else that gives value to them but this simple and yet good property, viz, the sap they yield from which Sugar is manufactured. This article, we are well aware, is one of the principal commodities of commerce with our nation. [24]

In all of our examination, we discovered but one solitary spot on which there was any thing like a collection of Sugar-trees-and that was 30 trees on 10 acres. On the west side of the River Platte, the land is timbered; but the timber is of that description generally that is of no great use to an agricultural community. The best and most useful timber is scarce and what there is of it, is deplorably defective. We noticed that the woodland was not thickly timbered and yet the major part of the timber is of the useless kind;

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such as Red Elm, Linwood Mulberry Hackberry Slippry Elm Cottonwood Honey Locust Buck Eye and a small growth of Pin Oak & White Hickory &c. While upon the subject of timber, we will add that the conclusion with your delegation is irresistible that there is not good timber sufficient for the purposes of a people that wish to pursue agriculture. With regard to the quality of the soil, no objection can be urged [against] it. It is generally a dark rich loam, varying in depth by being either hilly or bottom land, it is rich and productive, but the situation, or rather face of the country is certainly not friendly to its continuing so when cultivated. The reason we assign for its not continuing so when put under cultivation is, (and we think we will be sustained by all practical agriculturalists) that the lands are so steep, broken and uneven, with so many ravines and runs that the rich soil, when cultivated, must necessarily wash away and be carried down those steep & rapid ravines and runs and totally lost;-indeed we have seen enough in that country to satisfy us on this head. From all the information we could obtain with regard to the climate, we are satisfied that it is colder than it is in our part of the State of Ohio tho' it is 39 f [sic] degrees of north latitude. The Corn crops throughout the State of Missouri have been the last season, with very few exceptions, frost bitten. It is said that seven eighths of the corn crops have been thus injured. We do doubt its being as good a corn country generally as the country we now occupy. For farming generally, we can with safety say that it will not suit the Wyandott Nation as well as the country they now hold.

It may be urged that a part of the Nation procure a subsistence by the chase, and as game has become scarce in this country, there is an absolute necessity for the Nation to seek a new home, in a country where game abounds to save them from want and indigence.

If it be supposed that by removing to this new country, the interests of the hunting part of our nation will be promoted by the abundance of game in that country, we must say it is a mistaken idea. The game consists chiefly of Bear, Deer & Raccoon and the smaller kinds of game. There is a strip of wooden country situated between the Missouri River and the Missouri State line, in the middle of which runs the River Platte, in which there is, it is true a considerable of Bear, but we would ask how long would they continue to be plenty in that region if the Wyandotts got there? particularly as they are acknowledged to be generally good Bear hunters. We venture to say that in three years time they would be as scarce as

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they now are upon our reservation. As for Deers, they cannot be said to be plenty in that country-the same may be said of Raccoon.

Go out of this tract, you will then come in contact with some other tribe that will view you as intruding and will certainly be driven off their hunting grounds if you do not receive rougher treatment.

Independently of these considerations, there are many other circumstances that weigh much in the minds of your delegation. The country proposed to be given to the Wyandotts is now occupied by the Sacks & Iowas; these tribes, it is true, have not the right of soil, or fee of the land, but they claim the right of occupation for the term of ten years from the ratification of their treaty with the Government, leaving yet nine years of occupation, one year only having expired. This they claim and will contend for. The consequences resulting from our settling there, while they make this claim to the land, can be more easily imagined than described.

Moreover, the leading politicians of the State of Missouri, are opposed to the settling of Indians upon her frontier-speak of Indians as "a nuisance" a "curse to the State" &c, in short, they evince an unfriendly and indeed a hostile disposition.

Great exertions have been made, and are now making to have the whole "Platte country" added to the State; strong memorials have been sent on to Congress, and the Representation from that State, are now actively engaged in endeavoring to carry the measure thro' Congress.

The inhabitants generally upon the frontier of the State, (those who would be our neighbors,) are with a few honorable exceptions, the most abandoned, dissolute and wicked class of people we ever saw; fugitives from justices from the States of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and other southern States, form a large portion of the population upon this frontier-with such neighbors on one side, not only unfriendly to us but to Indians generally, the Sacks & Iowas viewing us as intruders, we think the situation of the Wyandotts, settled there, would not be an enviable one.

Missouri is a slaveholding state, and slaveholders are seldom very friendly to Indians: (See Georgia) at least they have, whenever they have got Indians in their power, proven themselves to be the greatest and most merciless oppressors they ever met with among all the American population. Situated as we would be upon the borders of the State, our territory would be an asylum & sanctuary for run away

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and vagrant negros; for as soon as they cross the State line, they are without the limits of the United States, and we are sure we have enough of that class already amongst us.

It has been said repeatedly that by removing to this country we should be freed from the troubles and evils we experience by being surrounded by a white population, especially from the destructive influence of intemperance. We can assure you we shall never realize this in that country:-on the contrary, we shall have a more worthless and corrupt class of whites to deal and associate with than is to be found in this part of Ohio-so far from being removed from the temptations to intemperance, we shall, to say the least, be as much exposed to this curse to human society as we now are. Not even the strong arm of military power can prevent the introduction of ardent spirits among the troops at Cantonment Leavenworth, which is west of the tract of country we would occupy, should we remove, and the road, leading from the white settlement to the Garrison, passes thro' nearly the center of this tract of country and crosses the Platte River at the falls. (See map) our nation would be constantly exposed to this evil and not only to this, but to all manner of impositions from the hordes and bands of rambling trappers and bee-hunters that infest the country west of the State of Missouri. If military force cannot suppress whiskey traders, we would ask how an Indian Agent is to succeed?

We cannot avoid putting but a small estimate upon the promised protection of the General Government after we shall have settled there. If we should be able to protect ourselves, well; if not, then the consequence must be, we must suffer much before the Government would afford any relief. Of all the countries for civilizing and improving the condition of Indians, this would be the last we should select for that purpose. If it be the object of the Government to promote the interests and happiness of our nation, by settling them in this country, we must say, we do not believe that by this measure, this desirable object will be attained.

The Indians that have settled on the south side of the Missouri and on the Kanzas River, we are confident, instead of improving in civilized habits, good morals, or their condition being in any degree improved, or ameliorated, have on the contrary retrograded-especially the Delawares from Indiana.

Your delegation, it is supposed, were to consult and keep in view the general interests of the nation by whom they have been de

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puted, and after completing their examination, weigh all the advantages and disadvantages with fairness & candor, then to report whether in their opinion, the interests of the Nation at large will be promoted by their removal to that country or not. They have at least governed themselves by this belief and acted accordingly in the difficult task assigned them.

In conclusion, your delegation must say, and that in all truth and sincerity, that they are decidedly of opinion that the interests of the nation will not be promoted, nor their condition ameliorated, by a removal from this to the country examined, and recommend to the Chiefs and nation at large to cease all contention, bickerings and party strifes; settle down & maintain their position in the State of Ohio.

Respectfully submitted.

(Signed)

(Signed)

John Gould his x mark

James Washington his x mark

John Baptiste his x mark

Wm. Walker

Silas Armstrong

Upper Sandusky O. Jan 27th 1832

I certify that the foregoing is a true copy from the original Report made by the Delegation of which I was conductor.

Wm. Walker

III. GARDINER'S LETTER TO CASS CHARGING WALKER WITH DUPLICITY

Lebanon, Ohio, Jany. 28th 1832 [25]

Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of War,
Sir,
I have the honor to inform you that I returned to this place last evening, after an absence of three weeks among the Wyandotts. Having travelled one hundred and fifty miles within the last three days, in the coldest weather experienced this winter, and being much weakened by fatigue, I am unable at this time, to give more than a partial report of my late operations.

While on my way to Upper Sandusky, I saw at Columbus a letter from Wm. Walker, (written from Eaton, near the Indiana line, while on his return,) to Col. Wm. Doherty, the Speaker of the Ohio Senate, in which he spoke in contemptuous and sarcastic terms of

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the "Indian Paradise" he had visited, abused the Government for its overtures, and insinuated that all the emigrating tribes had been "most shamefully imposed upon." This, in addition to other intimations [ 7] I had received of his conduct and expressions since his return, prepared me for the reception which I anticipated at Upper Sandusky.

It was especially understood and agreed between Mr. Walker and myself, previously to his departure, that, after exploring the country on the Missouri river, at and above the confluence of the Little Platte, [26] if that tract should not prove acceptable, he should pass to the south side of the Missouri, among the Shawnees and the Delawares settled on the Kansas, (many of whom are friends and former acquaintances of the Wyandotts,) and after procuring competent guides from them, continue to explore the unappropriated parts of the Indian District until he should either find an acceptable tract, or become convinced that no part of that country would serve the purpose of the Wyandotts. You will perceive, sir, by the enclosed documents, with which I have considered it my duty to furnish you, that he not only violated this agreement; but actually avoided visiting the particular tract at and above the mouth of the Platte, to which his attention had been directed, and of which he had heard the most flattering accounts from Capt. Pipe, Captain Monture, and other Delawares and Shawnees of Ohio, who had personally examined that tract. The Delegation never saw the country which I had proffered to them in behalf of the Government! They spent but one night in the woods. They were but six days, in all, on the western line of the State of Missouri, and, as will appear from their own shewing, they occupied most of that time in the sport of bear-hunting, on horseback and with dogs! Their "Report," herewith transmitted, is, I am thoroughly convinced, an ingenious tissue of preconcerted misrepresentations; and I am now equally satisfied that the whole plan, of filching from the Government the money for such a tour, and the making just such a Report was matured at Upper Sandusky last summer. The object was to quiet all anxieties on the part of the tribe, relative to removal, and settle them down into a state of false security and complete subserviency to the few, (white and partly white,) who are the only gainers by their continued residence in Ohio. I consider the situation of the Wyandotts, though on a smaller scale,

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very similar to that of the Cherokees, as described in your late annual Report. There was also a positive agreement between Mr. Walker and myself, that he should preserve a total silence on the subject of his exploration until his return, and that I should be present at the time of presenting his Report to the Chiefs. Instead of adhering to this understanding, he wrote to others, besides Col. Doherty, before and after his return, and verbally proclaimed as he passed through Dayton, what the Report would be, and cast sundry unjust and ungrateful reflections upon the Government. He never communicated at all to me, as he had promised to do, from the time of leaving St. Louis, on his way to the Upper Missouri, until I saw him at Upper Sandusky, after his return. He was then distant and reserved in his manner, and made use of much prevarication, in en deavouring to apologize for his conduct. He well knew my place of residence, but had passed within twenty-five miles of it, without informing me of his arrival in the State. The Report was read to the Chiefs with many verbal amplifications, before it was possible for me to reach Upper Sandusky, after accidentally hearing of the return of the Delegation. The desired impression was made upon the whole nation before my arrival.

Having the best reasons to suspect the truth of the Report, and the motives from which it was compiled, I conceived it my duty to examine the different members of the Delegation, separately and apart from each other, and take down their several recollections in writing. I commenced with Silas Armstrong, whose answers to my questions are herewith transmitted. He is an intelligent quarter-blooded Wyandott, educated in English, and was, no doubt a party to the plot before mentioned. You will see that he contradicts the report, signed by himself, in several important particulars. After this I could go no further, as none of the others would submit to an examination. The Indians acknowledged that Walker had warned them not to answer me!

In my letter to you of the 4th inst., I stated the opinion of Capt. Brish, (who had seen Mr. Walker and his party at St. Louis, just after their return to that place,) that from conversation with Mr. W. he was satisfied the Report of the Delegation would be favourable to removal. To ascertain the grounds upon which this opinion had been predicated, I thought it my duty to take the depositions of Captain Henry C. Brish, Captain George W. Gist and William Brish, all of whom had been engaged in conducting

WYANDOT EXPLORING DELEGATION 261

the Senecas to Missouri. These depositions are herewith transmitted, and will, I think, fully convince you of the gross misrepresentations and false reasonings which Mr. Walker has presented as the result of his labours.

Previously to the Delegation setting out from Upper Sandusky for Missouri, I discovered much discontent among some of the mixed-breed, relative to the incompetency of the persons chosen as Delegates. Silas Armstrong, who has many respectable and influential connexions, was particularly dissatisfied, and was likely to create some disturbances, because he and his relatives had been overlooked. To quiet all murmurings, and ensure as much harmony as possible, I took upon myself the responsibility of employing him as a Delegate, on the part of the United States, with instructions that he should report to you, through me, and not to the Chiefs, the result of his observations; and his expenses, only, should be paid out of my contingent fund. I now find that he leagued with Walker, in his scheme, joined in his Report to the Chiefs, and made no communication whatever to me. Proving thus faithless, I determined not to pay him, without your special orders.

Of the sum of one thousand dollars appropriated for the expedition, seven hundred were deemed by the Chiefs sufficient for expenses, and three hundred were given to Wm. Walker, as an extra compensation, as he refused to submit his proper allowance to the judgment of the Chiefs, inasmuch as he was required to act in the triple capacity of Conductor, Interpreter, and Delegate. At that time, I confess, I had full confidence in his integrity, and thought the allowance no more than reasonable. His Report and subsequent conduct prove how unworthy he was of this boon of the Government.

After ascertaining the true state of things at Upper Sandusky, I repaired to the town of McCutchensville, in the neighborhood of the separate band of Wyandotts residing on a Reservation of 16,000 acres at the Big Spring. I had always promised them that, in case the Chiefs at Upper Sandusky utterly refused to unite with them in ceding the whole of the Wyandott lands in the United States, the Big Spring Band should have the privilege of concluding a separate treaty for the cession of their own Reservation. Accordingly, I sent for some of their principal men, and ultimately made the accompanying Treaty. The Upper Sandusky Chiefs at first made a violent effort to force the signers to petition the President to withdraw their names, and actually threatened to saw their ears off with a file, seize their chattel property, and drive them out of

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Ohio! After an interview with me, however, they thought it prudent to cease all opposition to the measure; and before I left Upper Sandusky they had acquiesced, and even appeared anxious the treaty should be ratified. This solely arose from prospective views of gain. Those Chiefs, with their white and yellow auxiliaries, are as avaricious and envious as they are subtle and insincere. It was intimated to me that they intend to compound with the Wyandotts of the Big Spring to remove to the "Grand Reservation" and give the Upper Sandusky people the whole or part of the avails of the Big Spring tract.

The Treaty, you will perceive, is not made on the basis of the other conveniences with the Ohio Indians. Those Wyandotts refused to accept of any lands west of the Mississippi, on any terms whatever. The price given is very high, but the sales, I feel convinced, will reimburse the Government in a year or two. It is not, indeed, such a treaty as I could have wished; but, under existing circumstances, it was the best I could get.- The Big Spring Reservation lies partly in the counties of Hancock, Seneca and Crawford, and the extinguishment of the Indian title is greatly desired by the citizens of those new counties. And it is believed that, notwithstanding the apparent determination of the Upper Sandusky Indians to maintain their present position, this treaty will be the means of producing a final cession of all the Wyandott lands in Ohio in a year or two more.- It remains for the President and Senate to decide upon the expediency of its ratification.

I design to remain at home a few days yet, to recruit from my late exposure and fatigues, and prepare my reports and other papers for your inspection. I am in hopes to reach Washington by the 15th or 20th of next month. It will not, therefore, be necessary for the Department to address any further communications to me at this place, as I shall probably have left home before they could arrive. I have the honor to be

With very great respect,
Your most obdt. servt.
James B. Gardiner,
Special Agent, &c.

Notes

J. Orin Oliphant is professor of history at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pa.

1. James B. Gardiner to S. S. Hamilton, November 1, 1831, in The National Archives: Records of the Department of the Interior, office of Indian Affairs, Incoming Letters, 18311832, "Wyandots."
2. Gardiner to Lewis Cass, January 4, 1832. Ibid.
3 Gardiner to Cass January 6, 1832. Ibid.
4. Deposition of Henry C. Brish on January 23, 1832, and depositions of William Brish and George W. Gist on January 16, 1832. Ibid.
5. Examination of silas Armstrong, undated [January, 1832]. Ibid.
6. Neither the statement in the report as to the condition of the corn crop in Missouri in 1531 nor the further statement in the report as to the unfriendly disposition of the inhabitants of Missouri to Indians was confirmed by the above-mentioned depositions.-Ibid.
7. Deposition of George Williams, January 25, 1832. Ibid.
8. Charles J. Kappler, ed., Indian Affairs; Laws and Treaties (Washington, 1904), v. 2, pp. 325-339.
9. Ibid., pp. 339-341.
10. Annie Heloise Abel, "The History of Events Resulting in Indian Consolidation West of the Mississippi River," Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1906 (Washington, 1908), v. 1, p. 384.>
11. Ibid., p. 385.
12. Ibid., citing a letter from Cass to Gardiner, May 17, 1832.
13. Edward M. Douglas, "Boundaries, Areas, Geographic Centers and Altitudes of the United States and the Several States ," U. S. Geological Survey, Bulletin 689 (Washington, 1923), pp. 177, 178.
14. James D. Richardson, comp., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1902 (Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1905), v. 3, p. 321.
15. Kappler, op. cit., v. 2, pp. 534-537.
16. Bureau of American Ethnology, Eighteenth Annual Report, 1896-1897 (Washington, 1899), Pt. 2, pp. 776, 777; Kappler, op. cit., p. 587. The text of the agreement for the purchase by the Wyandots of lands from the Delawares may be conveniently found in William E. Connelley, The First Provisional Constitution of Kansas," Kansas Historical Collections, v. 6, p. 98, Footnote 3.
17. Laws of the United States of a Local or Temporary Character . . (Washington, 1884), v. 2, p. 849.
18. Kappler, op. cit., v. 2, p. 587.
19. William E. Connelley, "The East Boundary Line of Kansas," reprinted from the Kansas City (Mo.) Journal, March 6, 1899, in Kansas Historical Collections v 11, p 79.
20. William E. Connelley, The Provisional Government of the Nebraska Territory and the Journals of William Walker, Provisional Governor of Nebraska Territory (Lincoln, Neb., 1899), p. 15.
21. Four Indians had made the journey to St. Louis from the Oregon country, but one of them had died a few days before Walker arrived in St. Louis.a>
22. This letter is reproduced in Hiram Martin Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far WestThis letter is reproduced in Hiram Martin Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West (New York, 1935), vI (New York, 1935), v. 2, pp. 894-901.
23. This document is in the collection cited in Footnote 1, supra. The map which accompanied the report has been lost. on the title page of the report appear the following notations: "Handed Paul Brader Draughtsman April 12, 1887 Plat not to be found Aug 16 - 1911 B - F.">
24. Compare this description with the brief description given by walker in his letter to Disosway.--Chittenden, op. cit., v. 2, p. 897.>
25. This letter is in the collection cited in Footnote 1, supra.
26. This river is in the northwestern part of the present state of Missouri. It must not be mistaken for the Platte river which flows eastward through the state of Nebraska.